Riggers ready for pre-season Rush

DARREN FRIESEN -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 6:53 AM ET

Enough practicing, it's game time.

While it's still more than a month away until the ball drops on the Calgary Roughnecks' 2007 season, tonight's National Lacrosse League exhibition matchup in Edmonton will be all business.

With 28 players left in camp, the Riggers must cut their roster to 23 regulars and three practice players by Dec. 14.

And with only one exhibition matchup before the axe drops, there should be no lack of intensity tonight in the Battle of Alberta against the Rush.

"I like what I've seen in camp so far but the game situation is going to give us a better idea of where we're at," said Roughnecks GM Kurt Silcott, who's had a busy off-season retooling the 2004 NLL champions.

"Other than the guys sitting out, which is Tracey (Kelusky), Lewis (Ratcliff) and maybe Kaleb (Toth), everyone else is vying for a spot in the game-day lineup. The Wray brothers (Devan and Taylor) are safe, of course, but everyone else is out there to prove something."

The Riggers will play tonight and practice tomorrow, then evaluate their lineup in order to get things solidified by Thursday.

Calgary plays its final game of the pre-season Dec. 30 in Lethbridge against the Rush, before hosting the San Jose Stealth Jan. 12 to open the season.

Silcott is confident the Riggers will have a younger, faster roster that will compete for the Champion's Cup.

"We're very confident right now," he said. "We've managed to get younger and faster. We're going to be a lot more entertaining if nothing else, because we're going to be going back and forth - beating teams up and down the floor.

"I think we've got lots of options this year and I don't think we'll be pigeon holed as a team that can only do a few things. From what I see, we've got the ability to change our game plan from week to week, depending on our opponent."

Meanwhile, off the floor, the Roughnecks announced a new addition to the family yesterday -- a third jersey.

Mostly black and definitely designed to intimidate, the jersey will be worn for a few home games and possibly a couple road games, too.

"It's something we've talked about for a little while now," said Silcott of the new silks. "It's nice to give the fans another option."


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